It's Not Personal


How many times have you felt on the receiving end of a personal attack by a loved one, a colleague, or even a stranger?

I’m pretty sure that we’ve all experienced at least one and, as I am sure you know, it never feels good. 

Maybe someone criticises your ideas at work when presenting theirs as an alternative. 

Or maybe your child tells you that you’re the worst parent in the world. 

Or a stranger beeps their horn at you as they try to hurry you up. 

Every one of these have happened to me on multiple occasions and they have often sent me into a tailspin of insecure thinking. 

Take the times when my son has called me the worst mum in the world. 

At first I was utterly mortified believing that he meant it. 

Believing that it was true. 

Fearing that if he ever said it in public, I would be beyond embarrassed. 

I felt totally demoralised, utterly useless and deeply saddened. 

I doubted myself, I second-guessed everything and I felt less and less like a good mum. 

After a few of these occasions I started to see the possibility that it simply wasn’t true. 

My son and I talked about it when we were both feeling good, busy crafting side by side. 

He explained that when he got frustrated he couldn’t think clearly, as if his brain felt jumbled and everything seemed impossible and everyone seemed against him. 

What I realised was that in that moment, nothing was personal. 

It really had nothing to do with him – his true self beneath the thinking – and nothing to do with me – his mum whom he loved dearly. 

He, like everyone else in the world, at times gets a jumble of thoughts running round his head preventing him from seeing clearly and resulting in him doing things that, in the clear light of day, look far from wise.  

Like a shaken up snow globe, the insecure thoughts race around our mind and seem so convincing preventing us from seeing clearly. 

Insecure thoughts like ‘it’s not fair’, ‘why me?’, ‘I don’t want to do this’, ‘I’m not good enough’, you know the type, right?

And then we believe them. 

What I equally realised was that when I believed the words my son was saying whilst in has shaken up snow globe, I too was creating my very own shaken up snow globe. 

And as you can imagine two people trying to communicate when they both can’t see clearly, well that’s when big storms happen, KABOOM.  

Yet all I needed to do was press pause. Let my thinking settle just like the snow allowing me to see again. Allowing me to regain perspective. Allowing me to appreciate that not one bit of it was personal.  

And this doesn’t happen for me alone, this happens for all of us. 

Think about office politics, friendship tussles, family tensions. It is everywhere. 

Sometimes it looks like a full blown verbal attack of shouting and screaming aimed at another and other times it looks very subtle and quiet but no less real. 

But seeing it isn’t personal and allowing the storm to settle, well that changes everything.